The Mavericks are coming home for five games, starting Saturday night against the Orlando Magic.
They have won seven of their last eight games, mostly without Kristaps Porzingis, who may return Saturday, if not early next week from COVID-19 protocols.
In the meantime, let’s savor the 112-85 victory that the Mavericks celebrated late Friday night in Memphis.
STREAK-BUSTERS: The Grizzlies had won 11 in a row. And this was the second time in a row that the Mavericks have rolled into Memphis like a brigade of tanks and steamrolled a Memphis winning streak. In early December, they stopped a five-game Grizzlies’ run. This time, they put an end to the 11-gamer. They also stopped Chicago’s nine-game streak earlier this month. The Mavericks are definitely not the team anybody wants to see coming when they are cruising on a long victory string.
DEFENDERS OF THE GALAXY: Or something like that. The Mavericks had a so-so first half against the Grizzlies. Then, after halftime, they limited Memphis to 13-of-43 shooting (30.2 percent) and 2-of-16 from 3-point range (12.5 percent) and outrebounded the best rebounding team in the league 30-16. No wonder they more than doubled up the Grizz on the second-half scoreboard, 62-30. “That’s the key to us,” Luka Dončić said. “We held them to 30 points in the second half. That’s amazing with players like Ja (Morant) and Jaren Jackson. It’s really hard, but we did it.”
INJURY UPDATE: Luka said after the game that he’s “getting better every day,” but that his sprained ankles are “not an ideal situation.” The second night of a back to back with 8-35 Orlando visiting would seem to be a natural time to give him some rest after three rugged games in the past week. But the Magic won at Charlotte on Friday night, so clearly they are playing hard. At the least, the Mavericks hope to get Porzingis back. And coach Jason Kidd is nearing a return from protocols, too.
SPREADING IT AROUND: The Mavericks had seven players score in double figures and three of them were off the bench: Tim Hardaway Jr. with 16, Marquese Chriss with 15 and Reggie Bullock with 10. Bullock also had nine rebounds and was plus-31 in his 21 minutes on the floor.
REVERSING THE FIELD: In many ways, the Mavericks beat the Grizzlies at their own game. Offensive rebounding and second-chance points, often in the paint, are the calling cards for Memphis. And the Grizz got nine second-chance points in the first quarter. Then they got two in the second, none in the third and only two in the fourth quarter during garbage time. The Mavericks outscored the Grizzlies in the paint with a whopping season-high 72 points to 50 for the home squad.